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Any Flint Knappers here?

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by Themole, Apr 2, 2008.

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  1. Themole

    Themole Season Ticket Holder

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    Just curious. I've hunted Native American artifacts here in Florida most of my life and have always been fascinated with the workmanship of the points I find. Now I find myself wanting to learn how to duplicate the ancients work.

    Anyone here share the same interest?
     
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  2. njfinfan

    njfinfan The First Lady

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    This should be a very interesting thread to read. Can't wait to see the responses.
     
  3. Themole

    Themole Season Ticket Holder

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    Thanks Mary. Me too! I don't know why it is that this stuff fascinates me so. I find most of my points by probing in the St Johns River with a five pronged tool I made from hi tempered steal. The tempered steal makes a distinctive ring when it strikes flint. It's quite a rush to find a point that you know hasn't been touched by human hands for possibly thousands of years.

    Once you have the point in your hand and begin to study the workmanship, you realize that a lot of expertise and time went into producing such a fine piece of art. That's what it really is. A finely crafted piece of stone, converted into an instrument for producing food by acquiring the knowledge of where to strike it and precisely how much pressure and the proper angle required to get the flakes to come off just where you want them to.

    Here is a link showing the work of a modern day Flint Knapper. http://www.geocities.com/undyrm/mypoint2.html

    This is what I'm striving to learn.

    Thanks for showing your interest.

    Ron
     
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  4. njfinfan

    njfinfan The First Lady

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    Of course Ron - thanks for the link. Those are beautiful. Is that your website? This sounds like such an amazing art form. I'm really interested to follow the thread and see where it goes. I wonder if Marty, cnc, has any knowledge of this.

    Hope you've been well since we last talked Ron. Take care.
     
  5. Themole

    Themole Season Ticket Holder

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    No Mary, it's not my website. I only wish that I could do the work that guy does.

    I know that Marty has interest in it, in as much as it pertains to Florida history and the Culusa Tribe (generally accepted as the first settlers of Florida). He mentioned it to me in some Florida history he emailed me. I believe his Grandfather had some artifacts dating back to them.

    I'm doing well. I am now the proud Grandfather of Miss Jenna Buckles 2 yrs. & Mr. Brent Buckles 1yr next wednesday. I am smitten!
     
  6. cnc66

    cnc66 wiley veteran, bad spelur Luxury Box

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    Yes Ron, I have messed around and attempted to knapp. Got a thick piece of leather, some antlers, raw material and went at it. It really is easy to produce a blade able to butcher game, not so easy to make a pretty point. I used to go to the Buddy Lake area around St. Leo/San Antonio for raw material. If you go here and zoom down you can see all the dang sandpiles from the potholers.

    lat. 28°18'36.68"N
    long. 82°13'49.17"W

    It was the richest place I have ever seen for stone tools and points. The entire area was home to knappers for thousands of years as this was a great source for raw material and fresh water. You could rummage through the potholers sand piles and find all sorts of discarded blanks and failed efforts.
     
  7. Themole

    Themole Season Ticket Holder

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    :lol: Those failed efforts were probably mine from an earlier existence Marty.

    I'm with you on fashioning single edge knives for butchering. It's very easy. On the other hand, to actually attempt to make a symmetrical point requires some knowledge of what stone you are working with and the proper tools and techniques.

    Something that will enhance your performance is to get yourself a piece of # 4 hard drawn copper wire, such as you find being used as primary and secondary conductor on FPL poles, not the stuff that runs down the side of the pole, it's to soft.. If you know someone that works in power distribution (linemen) or see the troubleman cruising your neighborhood ask them for a few feet of it.

    You want to insert this wire into the center of your antler with no more than 3/8 inch sticking out and use it for applying the pressure. It should be tapered to the working end but not pointed like a sharp pencil ( experiment). There is something about the hard drawn copper that is perfect for not slipping on your blank and pressure flaking nice long strips of flint.

    I'll discuss more later. The carpet cleaner just arrived.

    I was home for lunch when I started this reply. I'm now back at work.

    Marty, I'm not talking to you from a lot of first hand experience about pressure flaking, although I have felt the difference the copper makes on the tool handle. Now all I have to do is acquire the feel and recognize the angles of the backs of the flakes I wish to remove. I know you understand this, so this is for the benefit of Mary and others that find this thread interesting. I'm sure if an experienced knapper should happen upon this, he would most likely get a good horse laugh from what I'm trying to describe.

    If you look at the points in the link I posted in the first post, I think the knapper said all of those points were fashioned from glass. I know I can can get all the thick old glass I want from the river down town. Thats where the old steamers used to moor up and there are still some nice old bottles to be found there and plenty of broken ones. I figure old glass is much easier to get and practice with.

    I'm planning on getting real serious with this in the late fall. Right now is approaching fly fishing time and I'm anxious to put the kayak to good use beginning after this week end.

    Beverly has been working me like a dog for the past three weeks preparing for the celebration of my 60th birthday, 33 third wedding anniversary and my grandsons 1st birthday this Saturday.

    Hallelujah, and Glory be to God, that will be over with! Why, these lovely creatures have to complicate things so much, I'll never understand.

    OH, almost forgot. What do I need to do, to apply those co-ordinances. Google earth?
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2008
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  8. cnc66

    cnc66 wiley veteran, bad spelur Luxury Box

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    yes Ron, google earth. When I worked for the state on a survey crew, we spent all our time in the Green Swamp. I was in heaven. I could look at a quad map and go find shards and points everytime. Find water, find Indians.
     
  9. Idahophin

    Idahophin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I purchase two VHS tapes off the internet to get idea how the points were made. The first tape is Redneck Knapping by Brian Thompson. He didn't have access to a lot of material so he used picture tube from old TV's.

    The second tape I purchased was The Art Of Flint Knapping by D.C. Waldorf. Now these guys make it look easier than it is. A guy could go through a lot of material learning to make a really good point.

    My grandfather owned a farm along the Snake River that had once been camp for the Bannack Indians. My mother had a really nice collection of points that she had found on the family farm. I have gone out after a big wind storm and found a few points. The pickings are getting slim after all the years of different people hunting them.
     
  10. Themole

    Themole Season Ticket Holder

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    Thanks Idahophin, I appreciate the lead to the tapes. Since I started this thread I have found an old acquaintance I haven't seen in over thirty years that has become quite an accomplished knapper.

    He has some of his points on display at a local restaurant. I asked the owner where he found his points and he told me they were reproductions and who made them.

    All I need to do now is hunt ole Tommy down and see if he needs an understudy.

    Speaking of making them from glass, that's probably what I'll try first. There is plenty of Florida chert laying around in my area but it is too inferior due to the lime deposits in it. So glass would be the way to start for me.
     
  11. maynard

    maynard Who, whom?

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    wow. cool stuff. i dont know a lick about this and i never heard of it, but sounds like a great way to spend a saturday. lets hang out marty and mole! lol
     
  12. Themole

    Themole Season Ticket Holder

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    Welcome to the kindergarten class of flint knapping Maynord. As you can see from the previous threads we are all new to this.

    You didn't say where you are located, but if you have an interest in this, the www has a lot of info on it. If you are in Florida, like Marty mentioned earlier, where you find a body of natural water, you can most likely find points.

    I hunt the St. Johns River. One tell tell sign on the river is to look for sandy shore line with old snail shells scattered around on it. Using an old pitch fork, just begin probing around in the sand until you hear a distinctive ring from the fork hitting the flint. Glass and flint sound almost the same, but in time your ear will be able to distinguish between the two.

    A word of caution though, keep a keen eye for cottonmouths, and gators, you will be in their element. One more important factoid to remember, although I haven't officially read this, is the state of Florida has now deemed it unlawful to remove any man made artifacts over fifty years old from their original resting place. While I can see the value of this to archeology, I refuse to obide by it. $$$$ is what this is all about. People are paying large sums of money for certain type points. One guy I know found a very nice, (eight inch) spear point in Ceder Creek about eight years ago and sold it for $6500. He told me last summer that he saw where the collector has since sold it for $25000.00, but these are extremely rare.

    Happy hunting, and a bright future to you, in your quest to learn the art of flint knapping. :up:
     

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